The non-handling of climate change uncertainties in strategic environmental assessment of urban planning

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPaper without publisher/journalResearch

5 Downloads (Pure)


Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which in the European context is governed by the EU Directive ”on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment” from 2001, has been pointed out as a relevant area of focus when dealing with climate change, also in urban planning. In the European context integration of climate change in SEA is also legally required. Further comes that potential uncertainty, e.g. in relation to climate change should be addressed in the SEA report. However, studies sow doubt about whether these demands are being met. Against this backdrop, this paper aims to contribute to our understanding of whether and how actors deal with climate change uncertainty in SEA, and seeks to explore the following question:
• How is climate change uncertainty dealt with in SEA of urban planning in practice in Denmark?
For this purpose an analysis of Danish SEA reports is carried out, with a focus on the mandatory consideration of uncertainties. The analysis shows that SEA practice in urban planning to a large extent does not explicitly deal with uncertainties. This leads to a discussion about mechanisms behind avoiding climate change uncertainties, based on literature and reflections on practice. The avoidance of uncertainties is distinguished into the following strategies: Denying uncertainty, ignoring uncertainty and finally postponing consideration of uncertainty. Further two possible reasons behind avoiding uncertainty are proposed: Conflict avoidance and reliance on quantification.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateAug 2012
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012
EventSecond ISA Forum of Sociology: Social Justice and Democratisation - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Duration: 1 Aug 20124 Aug 2012


ConferenceSecond ISA Forum of Sociology
CityBuenos Aires


  • 1 Conference organisation or participation

Second ISA Forum of Sociology

Sanne Vammen Larsen (Participant)

1 Aug 20124 Aug 2012

Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

Cite this